Xinjiang is one of the most exciting provinces in China.
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This is a vast area covering 966,000 square meters, 16% of China's land surface and situated 3000 km from the coast. Xinjiang borders Mongolia, CIS Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Resourcefully rich and ethnically diverse, this province today attracts many adventurous travelers, keen to discover something about the western area of China.
The area was first settled in about 3C BC , by people of Turkish descent. Xinjiang was made most famous however, with the opening of the Silk Road over two million years ago, whereby major trading and religious expeditions between east and west took place until well into the eight century .
Archaeologists believe that the Uigurs (the major ethnic group in Xinjiang) are of European descent. Indeed, even in terms of appearance, the Uigurs look very different from the Han Chinese and they certainly perceive themselves this way. 50 % of the 15 million population here are Uigur. In 1955, Xinjiang was renamed the Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Region, an attempt by the Chinese to appease the Uigur population.
The people in Xinjiang are extremely friendly and welcome tourists to join in their festivals, celebrations and experience their unique way of life. Kirghs, Kazakhs, Tajiks, Hui, Mongols, Daur and Russians (among others) all inhabit the lands here, using the rich Xinjiang resources in different ways. Although much of the land itself is extremely inhospitable, consisting of vast expanses of desert and mountain, the resources here are good. Grape, fruit and cattle thrive well and the land itself offers some spectacular scenery. The Tianshan Mountain range divides the whole area into two with Urumqi, Yining and Hami in the north and Turpan, Kashgar and Hotar in the south. The landscape is incredibly diverse, and as you travel across the province the scenery changes from desert to lush green Alpine hills in one hour, and to valleys and Turkish settlements in the next. Xinjiang contains the driest, hottest and coolest spots in all of China. The longest inland river-the Tarim River is here, the lowest area, the Aidin Lake in the Turpan Basin and the largest desert in China can also be found in Xinjiang.
One thing to bear in mind here is the TIME! Although officially run on Beijing time, Xinjiangers also use their own system. Beijing time here means that the sun doesn't rise until 09:00 and it is still light at midnight in the summer months. When making travel arrangements, be sure to check which time zone is being used or you could get caught out!
Apak Hoja Tomb
5 km northeast of Kashgar City, the Apak Hoja Tomb is a key cultural relic unit under the protection of the Autonomous Region.
As a tomb of the descendants of an Islamic sage, it was built around 1640 AD. It is said that altogether seventy-two persons of five generations of the same family were buried in the tomb.
The first generation buried here was Yusup Hoja, a celebrated Islam missionary. After he died, his oldest son Apak Hoja carried on the missionary work and became the chief of the Aktaglik Sect of Islam during the seventeenth century and destroyed. Apak Hoja died in 1693 and was buried in the tomb. He had a reputation much more well-known than his father's, so the tomb was called "Apak Hoja Tomb" by people after his times. A legend goes that one of the descendants of Apak Hoja buried here was a lady named Ipar, who was one of the concubines of the Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. Because of the rich scent of russianolive flower from her body, she was called Xiangfei (Fragrant Imperial Concubine). After her death, her mortal remains was escorted back Kashigar and buried in the Apakhoja Tomb by Su Dexiang, her sister-in-law. So, the tomb was also called "Xiangfei Tomb".
However, according to textual research, Xiangfei was none other than Rongfei, a concubine of Emperor Qianlong, and she was actually buried in the East Tombs of the Qing Dynasty in Zunhua County, Hebei province after she died.
Flaming Mountain is situated in the north of Turpan Basin. Along the Turpan-Shanshan road there are red mountains about 100 km long. These mountains stretch in a east-west direction, and are about 10 km wide from south to north and 500 m above sea level. The highest peak is 850 m in height.
The mountains are mainly composed of red sandrock. In summer, it is very hot here and under the hot sun, thermal air current rises, and the red sandrock gives out red light just like fire, so the mountains are named Flaming Mountains.
Here is the hottest place in our country with the summer air temperature reaching 47¡æ, and it was said that at the top of the mountain the air temperature is as high as 80¡æ. Among the local ethnic groups spreads a fairy tale: there was a evil dragon that ate children. Later, the dragon was killed by a hero. Before killed, the dragon flew around the mountains that were dyed red by blood from the wound of the dragon.
Kanas Lake is the core of the national natural reserve there. The lake was formed through strong exaration by glaciers. The lake surface is 1,375 m above sea level. Looking like a moon, the lake is 24.5 km long, averagely 1.9 km wide and 90 m deep. As one of the deep lakes of our country, it is 188.4 m deep at the deepest point, and covers an area of 69,000 mu, and holds 4-billion-m3 water. Around the lake are thick and green theropencedrymion that integrates with grasslands in mountains.
In spring, various flowers are in blossom in the grassland, and grass is thick and green. Standing in the grass, you can See that cloud and mist near look like white ribbons round mountains. In the distance are snow-capped mountains on which thick forests grow. In July or August, standing Fish Viewing Pavilion that is 2030 m above sea level, and looking down at the view below you, you will be attracted by the beautiful lake and mountains. You can find that under the blue sky and white cloud the lake surface is just like a beautiful large color palette, whosecolor varies: some part is heavy in color, some is light, some is blue and some green. In Kanas Lake, tourists can view "Treasure Light", which is called by local people "Buddha Light". It, integrating with the beautiful Kanas Lake view, the white glaciers, the green grassland, the boundless forest, and the mist in mountains, will make you feel as if you were in a fairyland. When the sun rises in the morning or at the time it is getting dark after sunset, on a boat on the lake or standing on the platform at the lake center, if you are luck, you can See the mysterious "lake monster" like a small boat, appearing or disappearing.
Kanas Lake is a part of European eco-system, which is very rare in our country. In this natural reserve, there are 798 kinds of plants, of which 30 kinds are rare plants, 39 kinds of animals, 117 kinds of birds and 7 kinds of fishes. Of these animals, 5 kinds are under Grade I protection of the State, 13 kinds are under Grade II protection of the State, 9 kinds are other rare animals, and the number of record for new species of insect and eubacteria is not less than 60.
The beautiful and unique natural view of Kanas Lake won the praise of national leaders, experts, scholars and tourists, who are all of the opinion that it is the most beautiful place in China. Kanas is the only outstretched belt of Siberian tayga forest in China, the only distribution area of Siberian plants in China, the largest branch river head of Etix River-the only water system to the Arctic Ocean in China. It is also the only place in China inhabited by Chinese Mongolian-Tuwa people, and the place of the alpine glacier with the smallest altitude in China.
Tuwa people, also called "Tuwa", "Dewa" or "Kukumenqiak", have a long history and were recorded in ancient literature. Some scholars hold the view that Tuwa people are offspring of the old, weak, sick and disabled soldiers left by Genghis khan when he led his troops to attack the West. But Tuwa elders said that their ancestors migrated from Siberia 500 years ago, and that they are the same ethnic group as the Tuwa people of the Tuwa Republic of Russia. Tuwa people keep their unique custom and language. Tuwa language falls into the Turkic language group, Altaic language family and is in close relation to Kazakh language. Tuwa people celebrate traditional Mongolian Aobao Festival, Zoulu Festival (Winter Festival), Spring Festival and Lantern Festival. Tuwa people believe in Buddhism. Tuwa people live in Tuwa village and Biahaba Tuwa village, Kanas, Altai. Kanas Lake and Tuwa people, integrating with each other, constitute the unique view and folk at Kanas.
Karez Well is a kind of underground water works invented and built by laboring people of various ethnic groups in our country to adapt to the natural environment in dry region.
In Xinjiang, Karez Wells are mainly in Hami, Turpan and Mori, but they are most in Turpan Basin, where there are altogether 1100-odd Karez wells and have the total length of over 5000 km. Some people hold the view that Karez Wells of Xinjiang, the Great Wall and Canal constitute three Ancient Chinese Works.
Why Karez Wells were built in great number in Turpan Basin can be attributed to the local natural geographical conditions. To the north of Turpan Basin is Bogda Mountain and to its west Kalawucheng Mountain. In summer, large amounts of snowbroth and rainwater flow into Turpan Basin and infiltrate into the ground, and constitute underground current, thus making an adequate water source under ground for Karez Wells. Earth in Turpan Basin is solid and good for building well and underground channel. In Turpan it is very dry and hot in summer, and land here has a high evaporation rate. In wind season, the strong wind here can blow sands into every corner here. After wind, a lot of farmland and water channels are buried by sands. But Karez Wells can supply waters through underground channels and is independent of the effect of season and wind and sand. In addition, Karez Wells have a very low evaporation rate and a stable supply of water, and can irrigate farmland all the year round.
The word "Karez" means well. Karez Well is composed of four parts: vertical hole, underground channel, aboveground channel and water storage dam. It is built this way: first, to find water source in a place where there is underground water current, second, dig out vertical Wells with certain distance in between, then, to build underground channel connecting these Wells and thus water will flow through the underground channel. The outlet of underground channel is connected to the aboveground channel and thus underground water can flow out and irrigate farmland through the aboveground channel.
Fruit valley, also called Talqi Valley, served as a controlling strategic section of north Silk Road in ancient times. In the end year of the Southern Song Dynasty (the early of the 13th century), Qagatay, the second son of Genghis Khan, led thousands of troops and worked through the Fruit Valley, the controlling section of the ancient road leading to Ili, and also the controlling section of modern Urumqi-Yining Highway.
The Fruit Valley, 28 km long, is located at the place about 40 km northeast the seat of Huochen County. In the valley, wild fruits and apricot trees spread all over the valley, and the rare trees and exotic flowers are everywhere. The valley takes on different outlooks in different seasons: in the spring air in the valley is filled with the aroma of wild Fruit tree flowers blossoming snow-white, in summer wind blows the waves of forest, cool and comfortable, the autumn witnesses various colors, in the Winter only pines reach their green heads out of the sea of snow (the lines written by Hong Jiliang).
Lin Zexu described the valley: the secluded and devious ancient road with clean and chilly spring waters on either side, on this 20-li road, every step you take, you'd be so much attracted by the beautiful scene that you can't help stopping to enjoy it. At Songshutou, the Sayram Lake, the biggest lake in Tianshan Mountains, presents itself before you like a huge sapphire! You cannot help praising the present bestowed by the Nature, the Fruit Valley and the Sayram Lake.
Tianchi Lake is situated on north side of Bogda Peak of Tianshan Mountains, 40-odd km in the east of Fukang County, and 110 km away from Urumqi City. The name "Tianchi Lake" was named by Mingliang in 1783, the Qing Dynasty Commander of Urumqi Command.
The lake surface of Tianchi Lake is over 1900 m above sea level, more than 3000 m long from south to north, 1500-odd m from east to west, and covers an area of 4.9 km2, 105 m deep at the deepest point, and the lake holds 160 million m3 water. Tianchi Lake is an alpine drift lake shaped in the Quaternary Glacier period. Northern bank of the lake is a natural dike that is a moraine ridge. Tianchi Lake is a world famous alpine drift lake, which was listed by the State as one of the key scenic spots in 1982.
The Tianchi Lake scenic area can be divided into four natural view belts: lower mountain belt, mountain coniferous forest belt, alpine and subalpine belt, and ice and snow belt. Riding a horse, one can, within one day, arrive at the foot of 5445-m high Bogda Peak that is the highest peak of the eastern Tianshan Mountains. Bogda is a Mongolian word, meaning "God". The 5445-m high Bogda Peak was covered by ice and snow all the year round and thus like wearing a body armor, so ancient Mongolians thought that this was "God" and named it "Bogda". The Bogda Peak is one of the mountain peaks chosen by Chinese and foreign mountain climbers for climbing sports.
More attractions in China
- Attraction Chengdu
Chengdu swarms with life. Introduction to Chengdu.
- Attraction Chongqing
Chongqing is the largest city and inland harbor and a major transportation hub for southwest China. Introduction to Chongqing.
- Attraction Hangzhou
Hangzhou has altogether 12 national honors. Introduction to Hangzhou.
- Attraction Nanjing
As a famous historic city, Nanjing ranks with Xi'an, Luoyang, Beijing, Hangzhou and Kaifeng as six major ancient Chinese capitals.
- Attraction Qingdao
Beautiful City of Qingdao. Qingdao is a special city that combines the charm of south China with the generosity of north China.
- Attraction Suzhou
The city of Suzhou is praised as the earthly heaven for its fully developed traditional culture and its scenic gardens.
- Attraction Tibet
Most Tibetans are devout Buddhists while a few believe in the old Bon.
- Attraction Xinjiang
Xinjiang is one of the most exciting provinces in China.